There is one place I know that is definitely for the birds, and is all about the birds—the Rio Grande Valley, where you’ll find some of the best birding in Texas. No posts. LRGV birding leads the way as folks chase some of the 526 species of birds found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and search for that new Mexican species that may cross the Rio Grande River. The ocelot is a small wild cat that is a management priority for the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. And you might want to have some extra days before or after to continue adding birds to your list, your memory card or just your memory. One of top birding spots in the nation, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park draws birders across to see a treasure trove tropical birds found nowhere else in the United States. We’ll start our tour where the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and bird our way westward with what are known as World Birding Centers (www.theworldbirdingcenter.com). A common pauraque sleeps soundly this morning just a few hundred feet from my computer. Weather. Home » Explore » Birding by Region » Birding Southwest USA » Texas Bird Watching » Lower Rio Grande Valley: A Bird Watcher’s Paradise, by Erik Bruhnke | Contributor, Bird Watcher's Digest. This gray morph is one a resident of Quinta Mazatlan. Mary Gustafson Hi, my name is Mary Gustafson and I am a bird guide in Mission, Texas. ; The three valley sections are: 1.) Due to the close proximity to the McAllen-Miller International Airport, many of the birds found in Quinta Mazatlan, such as plain chachalaca, curve-billed thrasher, great kiskadee, and green jay are unusually tame. They were formerly known as Tree Ducks, due to their habit of perching and nesting in trees, rather than on the ground. Not far from here is Resaca de la Palma in Brownsville, a renowned birding spot consisting of a scattered tropical habitat, a little Tamaulipan scrub, and a few resacas (dry river beds) where groove-billed anis breed commonly. Their black-and-white mask contrasts sharply with their lemon-yellow undersides. Home. Icterus gularis. Upon entering the wooded parking lot of the 20-acre Quinta Mazatlan, the sense of being in the city seems to disappear. Their liquid whip-whip call notes make any birder smile. I’ve been living and working in the Lower Rio Grande Valley for the past year and a half, and south Texas really has the feeling of paradise for a birder. Although the World Birding Centers mark specialized areas for nature-viewing and birding, there are so many additional areas to bird, some of which are nationally recognized: Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, which claims the highest number of birds documented in any National Wildlife Refuge in the United States; the old growth and green jay-packed Sabal Palm Sanctuary in Brownsville; Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, which hosts old growth forest and a hawk-watching platform with a stunning view; Falcon Dam State Park, where zone-tailed hawks breed; and the scrubby trails of Hugh Ramsey Park in Harlingen. If you want to read about the birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, you're in the right place! All photos are (c) by the photographer. What Attracts all those Snowbirds Fondly Referred to as Winter Texans? Intermittently I’m hearing “our” handsome clay-colored thrush unleash his melodious song. The Rio Grande Valley hosts one of the most spectacular convergences of birds on earth. Each location has so much to offer! A hummingbird zips by with a low-pitched roar of wings and a high-pitched chatter of aggressive call notes. Erik Bruhnke is a tour leader for Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours and for Texas Pelagics. One adult flares his neon yellow crest and opens his colorful wings as he arrives to the creek, calling out k-k-k-kiskadee-kiskadee. Plain chachalacas are cackling through the treetops, keeping their territories and social groups established while parent chachalacas tend to their chicks’ needs on the forest floor. Throughout Harlingen are specific spots where one can find red-crowned parrots as they flock to their roosting sites every afternoon. They are colorful and really do make a whistling sound as they call. When you think of birding hotspots near you, what areas come to mind? The adult gray hawk shows off the silvery gray backside and head with snowy white undersides. All of these are a reality for birders visiting the Lower Rio Grande Valley of far southern Texas, one of the premier birding hotspots in the country. Put the dates of Nov 10 – 14, 2021 on your calendar for the upcoming Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival. As we scan into the thicket we glimpse a stout, almost junco-like bird of pale gray and dull olive, with light brown streaks on its face. Altamira Oriole. The natural range of this well-named parakeet is in Mexico and northern Central America, and its northern limit extends practically to the Texas border. Curve-billed thrashers run along the edges of the trails, checking to see which cacti and leaf pile will provide the tastiest morsels. Do you travel to dense forests to seek out birds that live in the deepest parts of the woods? The Rio Grande Valley's Nature Site. I highly recommend visiting all of them to get the full feel of what the bird life and ecology is like here. A World Class Destination for Birders and Birds The Rio Grande Valley hosts one of the most spectacular convergences of birds on earth. Heading south of Edinburg Scenic Wetlands we end up in McAllen, one of the larger cities in the central Valley. To give you some perspective, it is about as far south as Miami. Is there a nearby hawk-watching spot where thousands of birds of prey can be seen every migration? Just down the road is the Hidalgo Pumphouse, a landscaped area great for easy walking, butterflies galore, and fun birding. Inca doves roam around the parking lot all day long, often cooing their soft song, no hope, no hope. While this bird, sighted in the Rio Grande Valley in the 1970s, left no evidence behind other than sightings and one attack over a brief time period, there are theories. Browse through our Bird Gallery. They are designed to tolerate our weather, soil and pests. Two parakeet birds for sale. Now let’s take a more in-depth virtual tour of that unique hotspot. Identifying birds is at the very heart of bird watching. A Birder's Eye View of the Seasons in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Chain hotels are found throughout the city, with several of them conveniently located along the Expressway. Restoring and protecting habitat benefits this and many other species found in this biologically rich region. Join the Center for Urban Ecology at Quinta Mazatlán for a journey into the world of rare birds on Saturday morning, December 12, 2020. The two nearby juveniles’ backsides and flight feathers are scalloped with rufous edges while their fronts are spotted with dark markings. The Lower Rio Grande Valley hosts some of the grandest assortment of birds found in North America when considering residents, rarities, and migrants. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and their local communities, consist of nine key areas for experiencing the bird life in South Texas. As I’m typing this, several long-billed thrashers and Inca doves are feeding outside my window. Inca dove. South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center. These delightful and secretive birds are olive sparrows, a year-round Lower Rio Grande Valley specialty. Eight radiant just now green parakeets zipped overhead! Approaching the birdfeeders we notice palm snags interspersed throughout the woods. The doves are gently grazing the soil surface for seeds while the thrashers flip leaves aggressively in their search for food. This is more species of birds than have been recorded in all but two or three entire states. Laredo Birding FestivalOccurs early February in Laredo, Texas », Annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle FestivalOccurs early February in Tiptonville, Tennessee », Galt Winter Bird FestivalOccurs early February in Galt, California », San Diego Bird FestivalOccurs mid-February in San Diego, CA », Winter Wings FestivalOccurs mid-February in Klamath Falls, Oregon ». The mosaic tiles, and the exterior and interior details make visiting this historic home a special treat, in addition to the grand birding on the property. LRGV ecotourism or wildlife watching is a major source of income to the Rio Grande Valley. The resident birds are a treat, but the birds passing through twice a year is breathtaking. Leopardus pardalis. the named Rio Grande Valley along the border in southern Texas and … Plain chachalacas cackle throughout the treetops and the understory. The adults have rufous-tan bellies with chocolate-brown backsides and heads. Still, I know some people say that’s a lot of money for a personal winter break, but consider this: If you divide $500 by 52 (the number of weeks in a year) that’s $9.61. along the border in southwestern Texas (U.S.) and northern Chihuahua (Mexico); and 3.) Each bird encountered is like a little puzzle or mystery to solve, because, while birds of a single species all share a certain set of physical traits, no two individual birds, like no two individual humans, are exactly alike. The program will deepen your understanding of who our rare birds are, what makes them rare, and puts them in the context of a changing bird community in the Rio Grande Valley. The Lower Rio Grande Valley hosts some of the grandest assortment of birds found in North America when considering residents, rarities, and migrants. This site contains dense and fairly old tropical habitat, scrub forest, and widespread southern floodplain prairie with some small bodies of water as well. Almost 500 species have been documented in this unique place. They are great for xeriscaping as they require little water. One sings, and we hear the classic chipping sparrow tune to the rhythm of a dropped ping pong ball. We recommend checking out the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and Blanca Wetlands for more information and helpful bird watching hints! Curved-billed Thrasher. One of the many things that is strikingly different here in the Valley is the feeder birds. As we casually walk around the backside of the Quinta Mazatlan trails, a parula-like song catches our attention, a high-pitched, fizzy trill that delights our ears. This video brings you the bird highlights of the Rio Grande Valley featuring many beautiful birds you would love to see. The native trees of the Rio Grande provide many advantages. More than 500 bird species have been documented throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Many breed and nest along the quiet Laguna’s, palm-fringed Resaca’s and in the lush thorn forests. It belongs to the McCall’s race of eastern screech-owl, found throughout the Tamaulipan forest of northeastern Mexico and southern Texas. Their antics are delightful to watch, and several chicks scurry after their fast-strutting parents. Along the southern edge of McAllen is a historic site that also happens to be an outstanding place to go birding, called Quinta Mazatlan, a 1930s mansion and birding center. Comments welcome, Dave-- hide signature - … One adult sings after bathing. The day after the Upper Valley trip I rode a bus to the legendary King Ranch: established in 1852, larger than Rhode Island, and still owned by descendants of founder Richard King. That could help to explain why the species has done so well in the lower Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas in recent years. All of the birding hotspots in the Lower Rio Grande Valley have much to offer. Specifically I was headed for the 797-acre Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley … This Big Bird isn’t the adorable one who lives on Sesame Street with his teddy bear Radar, but was named after him in jest. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park - World Birding Center ® It drums up the attention and arrival of two great kiskadees who proclaim their presence on the edges of trees. The World Birding Centers, designated as such by the U.S. Lower Rio Grande Valley: A Bird Watcher’s Paradise. Complicating matters is the question of whether or not the bird deserves protection as an endangered species. Read on as we partake in a virtual tour of this amazing landscape that brings birds and birders together. We look upwards and find a high-soaring gray hawk flying effortlessly through the late morning air. High-pitched ticking comes from the nearby leaf litter and brushy area behind us. Whether or not this species counts as “native” depends on who you talk to. The lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is one of the most exciting areas in North America for birds and butterflies. cage, food, treats, toys, and wooden birdhouse all included for 50$ Text me at 713298XXXX The Rio Grande Valley (RGV) is an area comprised of four counties that lie along the Rio Grande at the southernmost tip of Texas. At the edge of a creek, a family of four clay-colored thrushes bathes, their feathers cooled and cleansed from the mid-morning heat. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. The rufous-and-green plumage glows next to the red-and-black bill of the buff-bellied hummingbird, a year-round resident of South Texas. Tapered “hands” trim the ends of stocky but petite wings on this raptor. Are you able to travel a short distance to traditional migrant fallout spots? Tex-Mex food is available throughout the city at various mom-and-pop restaurants, and even if you like spicy food, start off with medium-spicy before you order hot, as south Texas-spicy food is deliciously potent. Further west is Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco. This handsome Altamira oriole is found year-round throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley and nowhere else in the lower 48. A nasal-toned whistle of a distant oriole catches our attention. They can eat from your hand. If you’re in need of an early morning meal while commuting to a more distant hotspot, be sure to stop at many a gas station for a surprisingly wholesome selection of breakfast tacos, made with real ingredients—including real eggs! The black-and-white tail is a clear giveaway. Their natural range is across the lowlands of northeastern Mexico through the southern tip of Texas. Rio Grande Valley Birds 4 months ago 17 Some recent birds from the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Carrying ample water is a crucial part of birding anywhere in South Texas, since midday temperatures can be grueling throughout the year. Birders also come to see bird species they can’t find anyplace else in the country…from the Green Jay and the Buff-bellied Hummingbird to the Great Kiskadee and the Altamira Oriole. Click on thumbnails to read about our birds! In addition to these fine species, some of the rarer valley birds were encountered over the course of the week. The adobe mansion and pool were built in the 1930s. No posts. If you plan a trip to the Rio Grande Valley outside of the bird festival and find a friend to share a room and rental car with you, it’s possible to do this trip for just over $400. Plant native trees and help restore the vanishing natural landscape of the Rio Grande Valley. Its black wings bear a bold epaulet of orange and a thin streak of white. And here, birds commonly found in Central America reach their northern-most range. Plain Chachalaca. In addition to the birding, Quinta Mazatlan is a historic gem. Plain Chachalaca. During a couple recent sponsored visits to the southern tip of the state, I discovered a lot more about this part of the Lone Star State. Expert news, reviews and videos of the latest digital cameras, lenses, accessories, and phones. Feral birds have bred in urban communities of southern California, southern Florida and the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Estero Llano Grande State Park is recognized not only as one of the top places to bird in South Texas, but also has a history of turning up rare birds that meander well north of their typical Mexican ranges. Read on as we partake in a virtual tour of this amazing landscape that brings birds and birders together. You’re in for a treat when you come to the Valley! If you’re looking for a central all-round spot to bird in South Texas, McAllen is a great place to experience the bird life, not far from other sites, and with Quinta Mazatlan just around the corner! He enjoys hawkwatching, long hikes in the woods, cooking, and snow. Our views of a male White-collared Seedeater along the Rio Grande River in Salineno were keen as was a flock of eleven Muscovy Ducks along the river and the Sooty Tern that appeared near Boca Chica that was completely unexpected. It was the subject of jokes and concern.Like anomalien.com on Facebook To stay in … This region offers several species of birds that can’t be found anywhere else north of the US/Mexico border. Check the refuge's website or call them before you set out, to be sure of their mask and social distancing policies, as well as hours. Great kiskadees are a handsome flycatcher of the tropics found as far north as the southern third of Texas. Despite immense storms, various owners, and habitat reduction throughout the property, Quinta Mazatlan was saved and preserved 1998 when the city of McAllen purchased the property. Centuries of Rio Grande flooding formed layer upon layer of sediments, forming a rich and fertile alluvial plain. Northwest of there is Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, a wooded thicket and water-based birding hotspot that is known for waterfowl masses, wading birds, and southern butterflies species. The resident birds are a treat, but the birds passing through twice a year is breathtaking. This against a yellow bill and deep-brown eyes makes for a remarkably beautiful bird! Almost 500 species have been documented in this unique place. The four county area that makes up the lower Rio Grande Valley has recorded over 500 species of birds. Use BWD's Birding and Nature Festival Finder to help you select from events all over the USA and beyond. From Falcon Dam in the north to South Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico, this region is famous among naturalists for harbouring a unique range of wildlife found nowhere else in the United States. Wear long-sleeved, breathable clothes, apply sunscreen liberally, and get ready to have some memorable birding experiences! Do you enjoy visiting a nearby park rich in ecology that is home to both many year-round birds as well as uncommon breeding birds? As of the time of this writing 263 bird species have been seen at Quinta Mazatlan. U. S. Highway 77 traverses the ranch for 23 miles, but to pass through one of the gates and experience its birds you have to go as part of a commercial tour—or sign up for a trip at the Rio Grande Valley … Birds of the Rio Grande Valley - Texas. Music: epidemicsound.com. A Green Jay, the very picture of a tropical bird feathered in green, yellow, and blue, offers its varied voices. A short drive west is Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, located in Mission. BIRDS of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. He owns and operates Naturally Avian birding tours. We realize an eastern screech-owl is sticking its head out of a cavity. It is known for its impressively large teardrop-shaped hanging nest. Along with Hawk Mountain and the Platte River, there were two destinations in Texas near the top of the page – Padre Island National Seashore and the Rio Grande Valley. One of the larger cities in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, McAllen is experienced with catering to visiting birders. Photo by D. Sanches / Wikimedia Commons. The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is the easternmost WBC. Roma Bluffs is the westernmost World Birding Center, home to bird species that favor very arid conditions, such as verdin, pyrrhuloxia, and greater roadrunner. Great Kiskadee. We see a large, radiant orange bird fly by. The San Luis Valley had an abundance of birds for the spotting! I am lucky to be down in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas helping to cover the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival for Birds & Blooms. Rio Grande Valley Birds: RGV Nature Parks and Wildlife Refuges During the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, parks and refuges have sometimes adjusted their hours open to the public. Home ... Tigrisoma mexicanum, (new U.S. species), Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley SP-WBC, Mission, Hidalgo Co., TX 12/31/09. On visits to such famed spots as the Brownsville area, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, Bentsen - Rio Grande Valley State Park, and the riverside below Falcon Dam, we’ll look especially for birds whose ranges in the United … The resulting avifauna in deep South Texas is the most diverse north of the Mexican border. Look for it in  large and dense woods gleaning insects and carefully plucked fruit. This hotspot has miles of hiking trails and is home to an impressive spectrum of year-round birds, including Altamira oriole, green kingfisher, black phoebe, and even the rarely seen hook-billed kite, typically during winter. On the opposite side of Quinta Mazatlan’s trails is an education area where children come to learn about nature. Harlingen Arroyo Colorado is a scenic spot to go birding in Harlingen, consisting of scrubby habitat and medium-dense forests that host an impressive numbers of birds. Plain chachalacas nest at Quinta Mazatlan, where their fuzzy chicks are commonly seen sporting a dapper pink beak and black Mohawk. Along this site’s boardwalks we’ll find roseate spoonbills among an impressive list of wading birds, black-bellied whistling ducks and mottled ducks, swarms of migrants if we catch the spring and fall fronts, and many other magnificent birds, including magnificent frigatebird when storms are approaching. Each year, birders come here to witness this majestic migratory journey. Call (956) 584-2731 to hear or submit an alert. Be sure not to miss […] This hotspot has the highest density of year-round clay-colored thrushes in South Texas, a species considered rare anywhere north of South Texas. Lets keep it friendly and lets see all the great finds that make the Rio Grande Valley so great! Subscribe to: Posts (Atom) Followers. See why birders have been flocking to this festival for the past 25 years—great birds (at least 30 new ones if you've never been to the Rio Grande Valley), fantastic professional guides, reunion-like socials, keynotes, workshops, huge trade show, and lots of goodies in the silent auction. This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of. Some say that the populations in the Rio Grande Valley are the product of both escapee pets and wild birds, others disagree. The Valley is a truly unique area of the world, where several major biomes converge. The various ecoregions of the Valley cater to different birds’ needs for shelter, food, and survival. Rio Grande Valley: Birds, Birds, and More Birds More than 500 bird species have been documented throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley Located at the southern tip of Texas, the Rio Grande Valley offers the ultimate birder’s paradise. Instilling a joy and understanding of nature in children is key for conservation in the future, and part of Quinta Mazatlan’s mission. After several minutes of watching the sparrows, a whiny call of a raptor pierces overhead. The lower Rio Grande Valley’s remnants of mesquite and riparian woodland harbor an array of species much sought after by North American birdwatchers. This is a group to showcase the great birds of Rio Grande Valley. It’s a noisy and bird-filled world out there! Birds of the three valley regions of the Rio Grande−Rio Bravo — a river and its river valleys in the Southwestern United States and two states of Mexico. Below are just a few of the species you can expect to see. The chachalaca is a unique member of the guan family, with no other relatives found in the United States. All content is Copyright © 2010 of World Birding Center unless otherwise noted. The lower Rio Grande Valley is one of the most popular birding areas in the US. Live to bird and bird to live!! Green Parakeets escaped from captivity have established feral populations around several of the … I met some readers of Bird Watcher’s Digest during the past year who made a trek to Quinta Mazatlan specifically to see the three tropical parulas that visited these trails. You’re listening to the sounds of winter in the subtropics. About Me. in central New Mexico (U.S.); 2.) And they provide fruit and berries preferred by our birds and wildlife. On June 4th, 2019, the Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office of the US Fish & Wildlife Service announced to the public that the USFWS now considers the red-crowned parrot a native North American species, endemic to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as … Nashville Oriole. Solid yellow underbelly and throat, deep blue head and back, and two bold, white wing bars illuminate this tiny bird’s identification: The tropical parula is a rarity for south Texas, but here it is! Depending on where you stay there is a chance you may hear green parakeets or red-crowned parrots flying overhead in the evening hours right from your hotel parking lot! Least Grebe Brown Pelican Reddish Egret Muscovy Duck Hook-billed Kite Gray Hawk White-tailed Hawk Plain Chachalaca Red-billed Pigeon White-tipped Dove Green Parakeet, Red-crowned Parrot Groove-billed Ani Couch’s Kingbird Common Pauraque Buff-bellied Hummingbird Ringed Kingfisher Green Kingfisher Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet Great Kiskadee Tropical Kingbird, Green Jay Brown Jay Clay-colored Robin Long-billed Thrasher Tropical Parula White-collared Seedeater Olive Sparrow Botteri’s Sparrow Altamira Oriole Audubon's Oriole. Get answers to your questions in our photography forums. Many breed and nest along the quiet Laguna’s, palm-fringed Resaca’s and in the lush thorn forests. GET READY FOR THE 27TH ANNUAL RIO GRANDE VALLEY BIRDING FESTIVAL! Enjoy our annual cycle! We’re in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the Rio Grande borders Mexico. 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